July 7, 2021

PIB: Host community provision, a time bomb — Diri

Bayelsa Guber: PDP hails Diri, thanks citizens for massive support

Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State

*Niger Deltans won’t accept 3, 5% —PFN

*Passed PIB, taboo that’ll not be tolerated by host communities —IMG

*Our tolerance in N-Delta running out— S-South group

By Samuel Oyadongha, Festus Ahon, Johnbosco Agbakwuru  & Ochuko Akuopha

Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State, Tuesday, warned that the definition of a host community in the just-passed controversial Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, by the National Assembly was a time bomb if not properly addressed.

Meanwhile, immediate past National Vice Chairman (South-South) of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, Bishop Simeon Okah, has said the people of Niger Delta will not accept the three and five per cent approved by the National Assembly as Host Communities Development Trust Fund in the recently passed PIB.

Also, Isoko Monitoring Group, IMG, has described the recently passed PIB as a taboo that would not be tolerated by oil and gas host communities in Niger Delta.

Governor Diri, who spoke, yesterday, when he featured as a guest on Channels Television breakfast current affairs programme, Sunrise Daily, said: “Governors did not wait until now to speak on the PIB. Speaking on behalf of my state, we had a position and it was made very clear during the public hearings.

“It is an unthinkable and total injustice to allot three per cent to oil-producing communities. We stated our position of 10 per cent.

“The definition of host communities or oil-producing communities is also worrisome. Oil-producing communities should not be where pipelines are laid. If the issue of what an oil-producing community is not addressed, it is a time bomb that could explode.”

On the open grazing, Diri said: “The issue of cattle grazing is a commercial, private activity. I do not see why we needed anybody’s opinion to regulate a private activity.   

“We must protect our people. That is why we have state assemblies. In Bayelsa, it has already come into force since March 11, 2021. Open grazing is no longer sustainable. We need to stop it.”

Southern presidency in 2023

On the issue of the governors’ resolve that the president of the country should emerge from the south in 2023, he said: “The governors will have to engage in the lobby.

“But it is only natural justice for the south to produce the president after President Buhari’s eight years. It is not constitutional but a gentleman’s agreement to encourage cohesion and peaceful coexistence.”

Niger Deltans won’t accept 3, 5%—PFN

Okah, who is the founder and presiding Bishop of Flock of Christ Mission in Delta State, said: “I congratulate them for doing a good job with the passage of the bill. I say a good job because the bill (PIB) has been around for a long time.

“However, something that’s very bad, which the whole South-South is unhappy about is the three and five percent, which both chambers separately approved. Three percent is nothing. If it was about 10/15 per cent, fine.

“They should not treat the people of the South-South as if we are begging them for something. It’s the money from the South-South that is running the whole economy (at least 80 per cent). So, it’s very unfair and unjust.”

On the recent threat by some militant groups including  Niger Delta Avengers to resume hostilities in the region, the cleric said: “I have pleaded with the boys not to resume hostilities. I’m saying it from the depth of my heart, the APC government has been very unfair to the South-South where the oil is being drilled.”

On re-arrest of IPOB leader

On the re-arrest of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, the PFN leader said: “Two things I have to say.

“First, they should give him a fair hearing so that the trial will not be done in a way that everyone (especially the Igbo) will see it as oppression.

READ ALSO: Bloody PIB and restructuring: Not yet Uhuru

“Second, as we talk about the IPOB, what about the boys (bandits and herdsmen) organising killings in the North and in the whole country? What of Sheik Gumi? He has become somebody no one can touch. That’s very unfair.”

Passed PIB, taboo that’ll not be tolerated by host communities—IMG

IMG, in a statement by Dr Kingsley Oroh, said: “The National Assembly killed the much-expected gains of the PIB and upheld the exploitation, enslavement and oppressive tendencies of the Federal Government and international oil companies, which have left host communities barren and bereft of development.

“We are stating emphatically that the National Assembly passed the PIB in bad fate intending to keep the host communities in perpetual slavery and under the oppressive tendencies of the crude oil cabals.

“The National Assembly, especially the Senate is wicked, evil, ungodly, unreasonable and hates justice. We see their actions as a call for anarchy and total unrest in the country. Our people are very angry over this development.”

Our tolerance in N-Delta running out— S-South group

Also, South-South Study Group in a statement by Prince Otoks Dan-Princewill, said: “Nigerian despots have always tried to deprive the Niger Delta people of their dues regarding petroleum rents.

“Between 1971 and 1992, elements in the Nigerian military introduced the dichotomy between onshore and offshore oil in order to deprive Niger Delta of the larger chunk of profits from petroleum rents.

“Once again, many of the said elements and their proxies were in the Zuma Resort meeting in Abuja hours before the PIB was passed.

“Using the dichotomy, they took the entire 100 per cent of the offshore earning, and slashed the earnings from onshore oil (un)progressively downwards, to 20 percent in 1975, zero percent in 1979, two percent in 1982, one and half percent in 1984 and three percent in 1992.

“In 2021, they are back to the same old oppressive game and have slashed what should be due to the owners of the oil, the oil-bearing communities to three while offering 30 percent to a fruitless search for oil in their frontier basins that has been wastefully going on for over thirty years.

“We must ask, what it will take to get justice for the Niger-delta people? What happened to the oil-bearing communities emanating from the conspiracy of the Northern lobby group hosted at Zuma Rock in Abuja, is emblematic of the type of (in)justice the Niger-Delta has been receiving since oil was first commercially explored in Oloibiri in 1956.

“The Northern lobby group asked for support for frontier oil exploration in the northern basins and troughs and within 24 hours, they got 30 per cent of the oil-rent profits allocated to them, whereas the owners of the oil, the oil-bearing communities sought 20 per cent for about 24 years, were offered five percent instead which, was finally slashed to three percent.

“Where is the justice for the Niger Delta people?  What must the Niger Delta people do to get men and women to reason beyond their greed?

“The ambit of tolerance and reason is running out in the Niger-Delta. We urge all men and women who love peace and prosperity to reverse the PIB provocation.”

Vanguard News Nigeria